8 Tips to Survive the Extreme Summer Heat and Stay Cool in Japan
We hear extreme heat has become a major issue in the United States, and the summer heat in Japan is also expected to be excessive this year in 2016, under the influence of the La Nina phenomenon. It is expected to be unbearably hot in the cities particularly, because of the urban heat island effect.
This time we would like to introduce little-known tricks to fight the heat in Japan and stay healthy. Here are 8 very simple tricks here, and they are actually used by my family and friends, too. Photo: flickr.com
Heat Protection on the Go
1. Use Refrigerant Intensively on the Neck and Armpits to Keep You Cool!
Refrigerant packages you can get at a cake shop are small and convenient to carry. You can also freeze a small plastic bottle containing about 10 fl oz liquid, wrap it with a handkerchief or small towel, and put it on your neck to cool down!
I bought refrigerant at the 100 Yen shop. Wrapping it in a scarf, I can enjoy dressing up, while keeping myself cool against the extreme heat.
When you play sports or engage in other outdoor activities, bring plastic bottles chilled in advance in a cooler box. After your activities, put them at your armpits or on the groin for a while, and with your body heat coming down, you will feel much better.
2. Carry Around Cooling “Body Sheets”
The body sheets are originally meant to be used to wipe away your sweat, but you can feel refreshed during the hot weather by one swipe with this. After a swipe, put yourself in the air flow from an electric fan and you can feel even cooler. Furthermore, the scent of soap or rose will soothe you. It is a must companion for summer outings.
3. Spray before Going Out!
A friend told me there is a handy product. This friend is a salesperson and goes out every day wearing suits. You spray the product on your clothes before you go out and it will keep your clothes cool. She said it stays cool and comfortable even when she sweats. Perhaps it will be very handy when you wear yukata for summer festivals.
I end up sweating even when I do small house chores like cleaning or laundry, so I will definitely give it a try when I clean the house next time.
4. Parasols to Cut Sunlight by More Than 99.99%!
Though parasols are familiar sights in Japan, some foreign people might find it strange to use an umbrella when it is not raining. Or many others, particularly men, might find it embarrassing, feeling it is femininine. But you cannot underestimate parasols, because it is said to change the effective temperature by 10 degree Celsius. It doesn’t mean any parasol will do. Let’s choose one that protects you from sunlight by 99.99% ~ 100%. I upgraded my parasol this year to a new one with 100% protection, and I feel cool in it as if I were in the shade of a tree. My head no longer gets overheated like it used to, even after spending many hours in the sun.
Steps to Fight Heat at Home
5. Highly Addictive! Chilled Towels
Chilled towels are offered when you go to a café or a Japanese tavern, and let’s make them at home, too. It is really easy because all you need is wet a towel and refrigerate it. It’s a convenient item to refresh yourself with, when you come back home from outside, before a meal, after taking a bath, or even before going to bed.
6. Enjoy Your Cool Bath Time with Peppermint Oil
You can find peppermint oil at drugstores like Matsukiyo, and if you put a few drops in the bathtub, in hot water to clean your body before drying it off, or your shampoo and body wash, they will make you feel really nice. If you mix it with shampoo, it makes you feel nice like you are getting a cool head spa in a beauty salon. If you mix it with face toner and use it after washing your face, your waking up in the morning will be a cool and refreshing experience.
In addition, peppermint oil contains chemicals that keep off your summer enemies, the mosquitoes, so you can mix it with purified water and prepare a handmade mist spray that doubles as a bug repellent.
7. Green Curtains Made with Morning Glory or Bitter Gourd
Gardening including growing vegetables is popular in Japan recently, and how about growing green curtains using morning glory or bitter gourd? They are effective in keeping off heat from home, too. Morning glory is such an easy plant to grow that elementary school children in Japan get to grow it as a summer project. Bitter gourd fruits can be used to prepare a side dish for a meal. Really it’s killing two birds with one stone, isn’t it? This is a heat protection method practiced at my parents’ house, too.
8. Enjoy the Japanese Tradition: Bamboo Blinds and Straw Mats at 100 yen!
I would like to recommend you a purchase of bamboo blinds and straw mats at a 100 Yen shop, if gardening is not your cup of tea.
If you select a bamboo blind that covers your window, you can hang it in your balcony, and it will lower the effective temperature by 2-3 degree Celsius. Straw mats breathe well and you can use it as a summer carpet, or if you put it on futon, you can sleep much cooler on it.
Please experience traditional Japanese methods to keep your summer cool!
How did you find the easy methods to battle against the heat, using familiar items around you in Japan? Getting too accustomed to air conditioning can weaken your body so it’s best to stay cool from natural methods as often as possible. All the tricks introduced this time are also high cost performance methods, being earth-friendly as well as wallet-friendly. So please try them!